Adjunct Unionization Negotiations and Considerations

Topics: Faculty Affairs, Academic Affairs, Adjunct Faculty, Staffing, Organizational Structures

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Adjunct unionization efforts are underway in several major metropolitan areas, including Boston, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. This brief explores the unionization and contract negotiation process, top adjunct concerns, and alternatives to unionization.

  • Key observations from our research:

    1. Compensation, job security, and a perceived lack of respect from other campus constituencies motivate adjunct unionization efforts at most institutions.

    2. After a vote to unionize, institution and union negotiating committees establish procedures for contract article selection, inscription, and approval.

    3. To forestall unionization, administrators may choose to implement policies that mimic union contracts with articles for baseline pay rates, inclusion in shared governance, and formalized grievance and evaluation processes.

    4. University communications regarding unionization should highlight the financial and cultural impacts on the institution.

    5. Adjuncts and administrators report that cordial and respectful proceedings improve negotiations and outcomes dramatically.